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  • Published: 19 February 2019
  • ISBN: 9781847925435
  • Imprint: Bodley Head
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • RRP: $32.99

Let Me Not Be Mad

A Story of Unravelling Minds




A non-fiction literary psycho-thriller about a clinical neuropsychologist’s descent into madness with an ingenious and shocking twist

Let Me Not Be Mad is an immersive, virtuosic and provocative investigation of madness, love and self-destruction that defies categorisation. A consulting room with two people in it. One of them is talking, the other is listening. Both of them need help.

Throughout his life, A K Benjamin has found himself drawn to extreme behaviour – as a screenwriter, a contemplative monk, a counsellor for addicts, a support-worker for gang-members and ultimately as a clinical neuropsychologist.

His bookbegins as a series of superbly realised clinical encounters with anonymised patients, some recently traumatised, some on the brink of mental collapse, others already in freefall. But with each encounter, it becomes increasingly and disturbingly apparent that what we are reading is not really about the patients at all: it is about the author’s own fevered descent into mental illness and mania as he confronts his traumatic past.

Layered with twists and revelations, Let Me Not Be Mad challenges the boundary between fact and fiction to provide a thrilling drama of self-diagnosis: a hall of mirrors blazing with energy, intensity, humour and emotion. And though shockingly personal, it also reveals something deep and dark in western culture that is driving millions of us to distraction and collapse.

  • Published: 19 February 2019
  • ISBN: 9781847925435
  • Imprint: Bodley Head
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • RRP: $32.99

About the author

A K Benjamin

A K Benjamin is a Clinical Neuropsychologist, specialising in diagnostics and acute rehab. Previously he was a screenwriter, spent two years as a contemplative monk and has worked at a number of NGOs, with homeless addicts, with gangs and with children with acquired and congenital neurological conditions. He no longer lives in the UK. A K Benjamin is not his real name.

Praise for Let Me Not Be Mad

Exhilarating ... dazzling ... a miraculous feat

Guardian

A mental-health memoir like no other … a genre-defying wake-up call of a book … compelling … clever humane … holding back a sly twist for the end

Observer

Let Me Not be Mad is stunning: clever, troubling, restless, honest, dishonest; one of the best portraits of madness and clinical practice I’ve read. I read it in two sittings. Extraordinary

Olivia Laing

A perfectly extraordinary – not to mention extraordinarily perfect – tense Hitchcockian psychodrama. I have rarely read a more haunting and enthralling account of a descent into madness. An important, profound and fascinating book

Stephen Fry

Imagine a gonzo Oliver Sacks communing with Edward St Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose, R.D. Laing and the spirit of Kafka’s 'The Country Doctor', and you still won’t quite have the flavour of this wild and strikingly original book

William Fiennes

Brilliant and alarming, written with cunning and self-lacerating honesty. The doctor is sick, but his intelligence, his scope of reference, his damaged sagacity could save us all

Iain Sinclair

Blackly comic, warmly compassionate, a unique take on the human mind offering uncomfortable universal truths

Stewart Lee

A treasure of a book. Intricately woven and deeply intimate, it reveals things that astonish, surprise and improve us

James Rhodes, author of Instrumental

A truly astonishing journey into and out of the mind. Not content to pin you down with the intense intimacy of his storytelling Benjamin dramatises some of the most profound and intractable issues in neuroscience and psychiatry. I’ve never read anything like it

Professor Mark Lythgoe, UCL

Like a meeting of Oliver Sacks and Hunter S Thompson … this is not a simple narrative of striking cases written by a far-seeing practitioner. It’s a turbo-charged race

Lisa Appignanesi, New Statesman

At first I thought this an exceptionally well written book in the genre of medical story telling. The more I read the more I realised it’s an exceptional book in a genre all of its own. Insightful, wonderfully well observed and beautifully written

Suzanne O'Sullivan, author of It's All in Your Head

A slow-burn belter of a book ... terrific ... so finely described, the result has the terse force of a classic short story

Spectator

Strange, claustrophobic, haunting … a dizzying whirlpool

Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday

Brilliant and engrossing

Roddy Doyle

Along the way the anonymised author, AK Benjamin, offers funny and unsettling insights into the vagaries of the relationship between clinicians and patients

Colin Grant, New Statesman, *Books of the Year*

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